Sir Trevor McDonald stresses importance of Black History Month with David Lammy

3 October 2020, 17:17 | Updated: 3 October 2020, 18:47

By Seán Hickey

As Black History Month gets underway, broadcasting legend Sir Trevor McDonald explained the significance of the celebration to black people.

Former news anchor Sir Trevor McDonald explained what it meant to grow up as a black man in Trinidad, telling David Lammy "we were seen really only through the eyes of our colonial masters - our colonial occupiers," and he learned more about British history than native Trinidadian history.

"We were taught nothing about our lives as West Indians."

Sir Trevor added that "not a lot was taught about black history in the West Indies," and felt that this was why it was important to commemorate Black History Month today.

David wondered if it mattered to the legendary broadcaster that he didn't know his own history. He told David that he "felt very strongly about it. I felt in a way, deprived."

"It is awfully awfully debilitating to not have that knowledge."

Sir Trevor McDonald told David Lammy that Black History Month is beneficial for people to learn about their identity
Sir Trevor McDonald told David Lammy that Black History Month is beneficial for people to learn about their identity. Picture: PA

He added there was a "deep sense that one didn't know much more about where our ancestors came from," and that played on his mind.

With commemorations of Black History Month Sir Trevor felt that "we are catching up on this sort of knowledge."

David asked Sir Trevor if he ever felt a pressure as a role model for black Britons, but he said he never thought of that. "You have to be absolutely fixed on what you want to do," he said.

"I said to people at ITN I was not going to be taken on as your token West Indian - your token black reporter," he revealed, and his ambition and hunger to succeed prevailed over all else.